Biloxi firefighters turn to pot(s) to relieve stress

Biloxi firefighters are learning about the stress-relieving aspects of pottery this week from a Georgia potter who’s familiar with disaster and the stress-relieving aspects of creating pottery.

Fulltime potter Amy Stickland, an artist from Dahlonega , Ga., and aunt of Fire Capt. Jim Davis. saw firsthand the stressful days after Hurricane Katrina and has returned this week with an idea to help firefighters and their families unwind.

“I play with fire, they fight fire, so I wanted to introduce them to the good side of fire,” Strickland said. “Pottery is a stress reliever and I wanted to provide that relief.”

The artist used her potter’s wheel, Raku kiln, clay and studio tools to create a makeshift workshop at the West End Hose Co. #3 Fire Museum, and Biloxi firefighters and their families created more than 50 pieces of art in classes that began Sunday and continued Monday and Tuesday. The pieces are now at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum for bisque or initial firing and cooling. They will be delivered to the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center on Friday morning for glazing and Raku firing.

“Raku firing is an ancient Japanese firing method, where the pottery is removed from a special kiln at full temperature, 1850 degrees, and placed in a reduction chamber where newspapers, leaves or sawdust catch on fire,” said Stickland.  “This type of firing brings out the metals and colors that are put in the pieces and creates decorative pottery.”

The process will take about 20 minutes for each three to four pieces.

“This workshop has been educational, beneficial and fun for all personal,” said Fire Chief Joe Boney.  “We are very appreciative of Ms. Stickland’s generosity and support.”


News and notes

Preservation series continues: This week’s Preservation in May installment pays tribute to the historic East Howard Avenue with a guided walking tour of the newest National Register Historic District.  To see a full listing of events, click here.

Wooden and classic boats show: As many as 50 historic, antique, classic and contemporary wooden boats will be on display the Schooner pier complex for the The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum’s annual Billy Creel Memorial Wooden Boat Show. To print a flyer about the two days of fun, click here.

Registration closed for Fire Academy for Kids:  For the record, the hugely popular five-day participatory camp, Fire Academy for Kids, has met its capacity.  Camp will be from 8 a.m. to noon on June 6-10 for the already registered 40 participants.